Do you know about the profound impact sleep has on mental and physical health, as well as overall quality of life? By good sleeping habits, also called sleep hygiene, you can improve your health, mood, and daytime productivity. The term “sleep hygiene,” according to the National Sleep Foundation, is a variety of habits you can incorporate into your routine to achieve better sleep quality and better alertness during the daytime.
Some people may think achieving good sleep is outside their grasp, but it truly isn’t; it just takes practice and self-discipline. Good sleep hygiene includes the following practices:
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine: Your body will begin to acclimate to a regular bedtime if you have a regular routine, such as taking a warm shower, reading a book, or listening to relaxing music.
- Keep a consistent bedtime: Yes, even during the weekends and on vacations, it is important to get up at the same time every day.
- Nap early, if at all: Contrary to what many think, napping is not an effective way to make up for insufficient nighttime sleep. If you do nap, make sure you do so early in the day, so as not to derail your sleep cycle.
- Limit naps to less than 30 minutes: Short “power naps” can be a good way to increase alertness. Set an alarm so you wake up on time.
- Avoid screen watching for at least one hour before bedtime: Smartphones, computers, televisions, tablets, and more can interfere with your sleep cycle.
- Avoid watching the clock at night: Stressing over the time can impact your sleep quality.
- Avoid use of caffeine or nicotine at least six hours before bedtime: Caffeine has a longer half-life than many people realize. A “half-life” is the measurement of time it takes for the body to expel a chemical.